Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. That is how one member of a local practice forum (LPF) steering group in Wales described progress made by the forums.
The comment came during a Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) Wales ‘LPF Development Day’ in September 2014, when steering groups came together to debate recent achievements and future plans — to listen and learn from one another, and to share ideas and best practice. A fundamental role of our LPFs is to contribute to and comment on the RPS Wales business plan, and so the steering leads delivered a lively and valuable discussion on the key issues affecting pharmacy in Wales.
This is how the Welsh Pharmacy Board listens to its members.
Julie Davies, recently appointed lead for Cwm Taf LPF, commented that it is “an exciting time for LPFs in Wales”. This reflects the recent injection of energy and enthusiasm into our forums.
Cynthia Langeveldt’s appointment as local relationship development manager of RPS Wales has provided support and enthusiasm to members.
Similarly, the steering groups of Cwm Taf and Morgannwg LPFs have been revitalised by a cohort of new members, mostly from a younger generation than myself and at an earlier stage in their careers. These new and enthusiastic pharmacists are the future leaders for pharmacy in Wales, full of ideas and drive, and are making a difference at a local level.
Many steering group members are keen to extend their reach beyond the world of pharmacy and pharmacists. At the event, steering groups discussed the need to engage with patients and wider civic society through charitable work. Charitable events and sponsorship are being incorporated into future plans.
Steering group members are also eager to engage with bigger, national issues, and how they could tackle them locally. For instance, successful dementia awareness sessions in Hywel Dda have led to a roll-out of these events across all Welsh LPFs.
Likewise, all LPFs want to increase participation in the RPS Faculty in Wales, and to support local research into pharmacy practice by building upon the success of the North Wales research symposium and the South Wales research and evaluation evening.
The latter event shows what LPFs can achieve when they work together. Recently, there have been more partnerships across the LPFs and in the future we will see even greater collaboration, especially around research and national projects. Now we have a vehicle that enables LPFs to talk to each other: the LPF communications leads meet regularly to plan the Welsh members’ e-newsletter, Pharmacymru. There is an eagerness to collaborate among the LPFs, which is inspiring.
Engagement in our LPFs is stronger than ever and, thanks to committed individuals, the Welsh LPFs have new life and energy.
The RPS is on a journey and our LPFs are with us, but there is always room for new members. Do you want your voice to be heard? Join your local LPF, and become an active part of RPS Wales.